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It’s hard to imagine a world in which homes and offices did not leak energy and waste our natural resources, and in the meantime, our cash. However there are a lot of people out there imagining such a world. They are striving to create a more-sustainable Philadelphia that considers the building materials and overall health of its buildings and homes.
The 2009 Sustainability Awards have a huge number of nominees across a broad spectrum of Green Activity. Simply to have been nominated can only mean that the work they undertake is both groundbreaking and highly-beneficial to the area. Listed below are the nominees whose work specifically focuses on the impact construction has on our resources, as well as the environment at large. To learn more about any of the nominees, click on the project name for its Sustainability Narrative Profile on PhiladelphiaSustainabilityAwards.com .
- 100k House Project - The 100k House Project was conceived as an effort to build a LEED Platinum home in Philadelphia for $100 per square foot in hard construction costs. Focused on process and design, this house introduces an infill development model that can provide sustainable and architecturally significant homes at an accessible price. This American Institute of Architecture award winning home represents a potential shift in the standards to which homes are built in Philadelphia and throughout the country.
- Bank of America - The Bank of America at 4610 City Line Avenue is one of the first national LEED-Certified prototypes. This 4,400 sq. ft. new bank facility is one of the first 5 banking centers in the country to be part of the LEED Construction Verification Program. This project received Silver LEED certification and was amongst 2 LEED certified locations nationwide, including Chicago, to first open as the new Bank of America prototype.
- Colorcon Global Headquarters - Not just another LEED Gold suburban office building that dominates its site, Colorcon Global Headquarters and Technology Center is a fine example of integrative sustainable design that inspires, enriches and leads the community. While cost-effectively attaining LEED Gold within the highly sophisticated and technically demanding needs of a lab and global data center, the signature global headquarters gracefully acknowledges its neighbors. Molding the landscape with responsible land use, it serves the broader community, rebuilds wildlife habitats and connects the users with the earth.
- Green Affordable Philadelphia - Green Affordable Philadelphia is a LEED for Homes Pilot Program launched by Habitat for Humanity in Philadelphia. In October 2008, Mayor Michael Nutter cut the ribbon at an event celebrating the completion of the first three of seven new houses being built by Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia in partnership with Habitat families and volunteers. These homes on the 4200 block of W. Stiles Street in East Parkside will be the first LEED-certified affordable housing constructed in Philadelphia, on track to meet the more stringent requirements for a Silver LEED certification.
- Re:Vision Architecture - Aerzen USA’s 42,000 sq. ft. headquarters, designed by Re:Vision Architecture, creates a statement of possibility for the next generation of buildings that are socially and environmentally responsible, high-performance, design-oriented, and cost-competitive. The design is organic in its form and relationship to nature but highly rational in its function and utility; like the company it represents, the building combines art and engineering. To respect the local farming community, parts of the building was constructed using straw bale technology.
- Revisioning the South Street Bridge - Anyone who has driven over the South Street Bridge in West Philadelphia knows that it can be a daunting task. However, Revisioning the South Street Bridge made sure that the new bridge will be sustainable in every way. The Revisioning efforts involved a wide range of organizations and people. This nomination is for all of those who worked for a better Bridge and it includes the designers as well as the administrators who also worked hard to see that the final product better represents our greater desire to move toward a more sustainable lifestyle.
- The Symphony House - In terms of living space, there may be none more Green and groundbreaking than the Symphony House. The elegant Symphony House Condominiums tower features lightweight, carbon fiber-reinforced precast concrete cladding that significantly reduced embodied energy. Carbon fiber is approximately five times the strength of the steel it replaces. Capable of withstanding Category 5 winds, the panels were up to 66% lighter in weight, allowing reductions in superstructure and optimized interior layouts while permitting dramatic articulation and use of color. The building's enclosure was made with recycled and local materials and is non-corrosive.
- Thin Flats - Lastly, but most certainly not least, is the Thin Flats Program, which is a nine unit residential development in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia that is scheduled to become the first LEED Platinum set of duplexes in the country, the highest level of sustainability possible through the USGBC's LEED program. As the first LEED duplexes in the country, and most importantly being sold at a market rate price, Thin Flats proves that sustainable building does not have to be more expensive.
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For more information on the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards, check out their website at PhiladelphiaSustainabilityAwards.com. And for great ways to make your home more sustainable, take a look at the Return on Investment Rankings for Home Remodeling at GREENandSAVE.